The penultimate edition!
When we left Empress Berta, she had chest pains and an infected wound, but was gamely continuing with her hunting career all the same. Like so many of her ancestors, she was obsessed with catching the mystical white lion, which serves as a metaphor for the unattainability of --
Never mind, she actually caught the damn thing! It only took five hundred years. I consider letting it live, but it gives a pretty sweet bonus, so we'll do the wall/head thing.
Adventurers are like roaches. Stomp on one and two more turn up. Do I have a good XP reward or something?
Let's try having him killed.
This always bothers me. The fact that, as Empress, I'm trying to kill some guy who has announced his intention to seize my throne seems like ... pretty obvious? Most people would say, "Yeah, that's about what I'd expect," right?
Owning Norway has actually turned out to be kind of a pain, what with the Catholic revolts and all.
Having caught the mystical lion, Berta's old hunting wound finally heals.
All right, maybe we can head this one off at the pass.
Guifre takes his sweet time about actually showing up to the war, though. In the meantime I recruit a new doctor renowned for immense wisdom.
He's actually ... ridiculously awesome. Wow. If he wasn't celibate I would marry him.
Fortunately, while the adventurer armies scale with the size of your realm, they seem to top out around 40,000 men, which is much too small to bother me now. Guifre and his host are duly crushed when they finally show up.
The new Basileus is not super impressive, and my threat is getting low, so it'll be time for another war against the Byzantines soon.
Except, of course, one of my vassals in Norway dies, bequeathing me some territory and a war against Svea Rike at -60%. If I lose, I have to pay thousands of gold in indemnity. I'm going to have to go to Norway, aren't I? Dammit.
All right, boys, everybody on the boat!
Compared to actually getting there, winning the war is ridiculously easy. The King of Svea Rike looks kind of disappointed, possibly because of his dumb mustache.
Then I realize, argh, winning the war kicked my threat way back up again! The Byzantines are safe for a while.
All right, everybody back on the boat!
(Well, only my retinue. The levy soldiers just sort of melt into the ground when you dismiss them on friendly territory.)
Helpfully, the high priest calls a Great Holy War for a kingdom in the middle of India, and all my
lemmings vassals immediately sign up.
While they're doing that, I'm dealing with the county of Archa. If you'll recall, I conquered it before, and it mysteriously reverted to its former allegiance without a fight. Now there's a revolt there, so I'm conquering it again.
The actual conquest is pretty easy, but there's something weird going on. The barons are independent, which almost never happens. I have to fight three more (very short) wars to restore them to their proper relations with the count.
Better. You all work for me and don't you forget it!
The big purple blob. Still picking away at the remnant Byzantine and Mongol territories, though it's slow going due to the world-wide alliance against me.
I am ... not sure what's going on with this event.
Empress Berta's reign is going well, she deserves some me time.
Also, did Bogoris really need to burst into my study to tell me to relax?
The "pope" is apparently up to something unsavory.
A little too unsavory for his own safety, I guess.
My heir, Prince Gebereal, has outlived a second wife, although the first one was was kind of an accident. He's going to need some help with stewardship, so I go shopping abroad.
Misrak is gay, but Gebereal already has two children so lower fertility isn't crucial. Otherwise she's ideal!
These are way less impressive then they used to be. "Yawn, another jihad? Wake me up when they get here."
Never did figure out what was causing those, but I guess it doesn't matter!
My local troops handled this by themselves. Basically we just called the cops on the invaders.
Okay. Now this is a hell of a lot more worrying.
Pope War VIII: Rogue Pope.
"Don't worry, guys, we're on the way to help!"
Considering that the Pope declared a crusade for Greece, I concentrate my forces in Greece. Like a chump, it turns out.
Halfway there, the Norwegian forces decide to stop off in Rome and give the Pope a taste of his own medicine.
This doesn't go particularly well, but it gives me ideas.
Even in the middle of war, life goes on. Empress Berta secures herself a sexy new high-stewardship husband as Christians lay siege to Constantinople.
It's a tough fight. The challenge is that the armies can't gather in one place without starving. Fortunately, this means you can feint -- I move forward, and the enemy moves to crash-concentrate, gathering all his forces but abandoning some of his sieges, and then I cancel my move. This helps buy time and cost the enemy troops as I move more of mine up.
It's hard fighting, but I'm getting the upper hand. Unfortunately, two problems crop up.
First, Empress Berta dies, after one of the longest and most successful reigns in my history. Fortunately, her son is already an adult and quite competent. Long live Emperor Gebereal II!
Second, all my hard fighting in Greece is being undone by a bunch of Crusaders laying siege to the castles of Norway, which count against my warscore.
How did they even get there?
"The Pope's declared a new crusade for Greece."
"Great. Boys, we're headed to Norway!"
Emperor Gebereal II recruits a talented pilgrim as his new doctor.
The final battles of the campaign for Greece play out. In the meantime, we check in on Prince Lema, our new heir. He's got excellent stats, one son, and his wife has died, so he could use a new one. He's also scarred and disfigured so he wears a creepy mask.
I secure an excellent wife, Kelile, for him from abroad, but he refuses to marry her. Since his original wife was a countess, their son is now a count, and is acting as his father's direct liege. And since Prince Lema loves his son, he refuses to leave his court for mine, where I could force him to marry. Grr. I get him a wife he will agree to marry, and poor Kelile hangs around my court, lonely. More of her later.
The battle in Greece is effectively won, but we're still at -1% warscore because of all the lost holdings in Norway, so the pope won't make peace. I heave a sigh and load up a ship with 40,000 men to go sort things out.
I didn't even know I owned ... whatever these islands are. Part of Denmark I guess? But apparently I do.
After disembarking a huge army and storming a few castles, Pope Leo IX the Confessor finally agrees to quit it. That's seven crusades for Jerusalem and two for Greece you've lost, guys. Take a hint.
Without the threat of the Christians to unite them, the vassals pull their usual hazing of the new monarch.
This revolt is not so bad, considering. Crucially, Syria stays loyal, and they're enormous.
In the middle of the war, Emperor Gebereal II engages in some ... stress relief. Note that Alaworld is my daughter-in-law, married to Prince Getachew, who is Gebereal's second son. It's good to be the Emperor, I guess?
The revolt armies gather near Semien and get crushed.
Uh ... hmm. This would concern me a lot less if I wasn't sleeping with his wife.
...who is now giving birth to my sons.
Also, I'm pretty sure I just got roofied by a witch. No wonder Gebereal is stressed.
The rebels are finally beaten. Look, Iskinder, I know you're disfigured, but maybe try a mask that doesn't make you look like Darth Vader?
Also, check out Iskinder's stats! Yikes.
Okay, god damn it. Archa has mysteriously left my control again. I swear that county is cursed. Or possibly bugged. Either way I'm calling the Ghostbusters.
Pro tip: discovering that your lover has syphilis does not automatically cause you to stop having sex with them. You have to do that manually.
The Byzantine Basileus has left the defensive pact against me, so it's time for war! Not holy war -- first I'm going to deal with the annoyingly little blob of red hanging out in the middle of my domain, which I have a de jure claim on. That has the benefit of raising threat less, too.
Emperor Gebereal II's recent experiences have soured him on humanity.
The war goes well. The Byzantines seem increased disinclined to fight to the finish for little bits of land, so once I've occupied them they just give up. Fine with me!
A period of peace follows as I wait out the truce and threat. In the west, Francia is having issues with Hispania that look like some kind of rash, and Italy and England are separate again.
And kids love dogs!
Hmm, I feel like that kind of does make you a coward, right?
My threat is below 50%, so I can claim the Cursed County of Archa and trigger only a war with some Muslims, rather than the entire world. This time I'm claiming it on behalf of vassal, maybe that will help.
Victory. For now...
My heir Prince Lema has become a drunk, and still doesn't have any children. Troubling.
My second son Prince Getachew has died of syphilis. He has two children, both of whom are really mine, and they come after Prince Lema in the line of succession. So no cause for worry yet.
This is the point at which I discovered I was still sleeping with Alaworld. Awkward.
My vassal King Berhanu the Handsome of Norway has gotten himself castrated somehow. He seems to have managed to have six children first, though.
In the meantime, I've taken a new lover, Kelile, who was supposed to be married to Prince Lema. Emperor Gebereal just has a thing for his sons' wives I guess? She's zealous, wrathful, and paranoid, so I can see why having her around is relaxing.
In the meantime, I've been pondering. I'm really sick of being crusaded at, so I'm wondering if something can be done about it. I've come up with a plan. Step one is to hire Menashe, who is the Most Diplomatic Jew in the World.
Step two is to send him to the Papacy to forge a claim on Rome. That seems plausible, right?
I'm starting to think Emperor Gebereal II may be Typhoid Mary here.
Although he still has the "Thrill of Illicit Love" modifier ... after his lover died explosively vomiting ...
Let's not think too hard about that. Hey, look, a Byzantine revolt!
Time for a holy war for Tripoli, avenging my one and so far only defeat in battle, all those years ago.
🎶Holy War theme song!🎶
Having launched the war, Emperor Gebereal II dies, possibly of Ebola. Long live Emperor Lema!
If you compare to earlier, you can see that becoming emperor gets Lema a mask upgrade.
Emperor Lema's stats are solid. He hides his face because he's scarred and disfigured, but he's also brave and diligent. Also a drunk, but you can't have everything. Still only the one, dead son though.
He quickly brings the war against the Byzantine rebels to a satisfactory conclusion.
Much better. And the vassals aren't plotting against me too badly yet.
Next time -- the exciting conclusion of The Promised Land RELOADED!
Current Year: 1380 AD. Current Status: Full of Ebola.